Great Bakes

If life’s meant to experience sinful indulgences, then don’t waste time and calories on average bakes. Instead, try 50 Things to Bake Before You Die for easy yet mouthwatering recipes.

Who doesn’t like an amazing homemade brownie or a luscious carrot cake topped with perfect cream cheese frosting? Seriously, life is just too short to waste time on recipes that take too much time and aren’t really worth it in the end. 

Imagine my joy in finding this cookbook that compiles simple and delicious recipes from some of the world’s most renowned bakers. Welcome to 50 Things to Bake Before You Die: The World’s Best Cakes, Pies, Brownies, Cookies, and More from Your Favourite Bakers, Including Christina Tosi, Joanne Chang, and Dominique Ansel.


Food enthusiast and author Allyson Reedy divides the 50 recipes into five categories: Cookies (with Daniel Boulud’s recipe for Madeleines); Cakes; Pies/Tarts; Things You Eat With Your Hands; and Things You Probably Shouldn’t Eat With Your Hands (think tiramisu or a soufflé). 

Interestingly, Reedy chose to leave out baking and prep times in the recipes, saying: “For one, they’re never accurate.” I won’t argue with that – goodbye false expectations. Instead, by omitting the time requirements, Reedy gently encourages you to read the entire recipe first before starting on it, and then taking the time you need to execute the dish. Pretty smart, I thought.


It’s hard to pass up a recipe that describes galette as “easier than pie”. Hence, the decision to try out the simpler Blueberry Galette compared to its more demanding pie cousins was an easy one to make. Staying in the Pies/Tart category, Majed Ali’s twist on cheesecake with labneh and a granola crust instead of classic cream cheese and graham crackers was quite interesting too.

If you’re a true chocoholic, there’s probably very little chance that you will pass up on the three-tiered Death by Chocolate Cake with both chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache. I also found the Grapefruit Tiramisu recipe quite novel and innovative, where grapefruit replaces espresso. It sounded wrong, but tasted great with its light citrus notes swirled through the mascarpone anglaise. 

Reedy includes elaborate non-dessert recipes such as those for Croissants and Butter Pecan Cinnamon Buns, but those do take up a little more time, so I’m leaving them for another day.


If I had to choose one section, I would say my favourite would be Cakes. The omission of time does indeed make a (positive) difference, as I didn’t find myself rushing to finish all the elements within the specified time. Naturally, if you’re relaxed with the process, your baking will turn out much better too. A lovely tome to add to your treasure of cookbooks!